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China and Europe talk climate, rights and business

July 5, 2021

China's Xi Jinping, Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron were talking ahead of the COP26 in Glasgow and the G20 in Rome. Air links between the countries could soon be restored.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during CCP anniversary
Chinese President Xi Jinping had video talks with European leadersImage: Li Xueren/XinHua/dpa/picture alliance

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke of improving relations with Europe in a video call with German and French leaders on Monday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron raised the issues of human rights and climate change in the virtual meeting.

The conversation took place at a time when relations have been strained by China′s increasingly authoritarian approach to Hong Kong and the Uyghur minority.

What did the three leaders talk about?

France′s Elysee palace said the talks were held to discuss the leaders′ different positions ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow and the G20 summit in Rome later this year.

Xi said he wanted better cooperation between Europe and China while Macron and Merkel spoke to Xi about the importance of halting Chinese government support for coal power stations.

The three national leaders spoke of working towards a fairer environment for both Chinese companies in Europe and European companies in China.

Amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna, the possibility of reviving the Irannuclear deal was also discussed with the French spokesperson saying it should be done "as soon as possible." China, Germany and France remain signatories to the accord.

The French statement said that "air links should also resume as soon as possible while respecting the principle of reciprocity" after the global pandemic.

What was said on human rights?

Macron and Merkel made "demands concerning the fight against forced labor," raising China's Uyghur minority with President Xi.

Amnesty: China committing 'crimes against humanity'

Human rights groups have reported that the Chinese authorities have imprisoned up to 1 million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities. The groups say the prisoners have then been forced to work in labor camps, with less common allegations of forced sterilization for some women.

Chinese Communist party centenary
China celebrated its Communist party centenary recentlyImage: Ng Han Guan/AP/dpa/picture alliance

The meeting came after the Chinese Communist Party's centenary celebrations, when Xi said the economic superpower was on an "ireversible" pathaway from colonial humiliation.

jc/msh (dpa, AFP, AP, Reuters)